MPS students get fitted for free eyeglasses

MILWAUKEE -- Dozens of kids at a Milwaukee Public Schools’ Alexander Mitchell School will be seeing things a lot clearer now!  They put their vision skills to the test Thursday, December 6th and those who need them will be getting free glasses thanks to Wisconsin Vision, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association.

Out of 618 students that were tested for their vision, a third of them were in potential need of glasses.

“We had 240 kids fail.  If they can't see the board, can't see the textbooks, this is going to have a huge impact on these kids' learning abilities,” school nurse Amanda Walker said.

On Thursday, 90 students received eye exams and got fitted for a free pair of glasses.

“Some shapes look like squares,” fourth-grader Thomas Poe said.

“Sometimes on the board, I can't see the little words that are written,” sixth-grader Sharon Chavez said.

Wisconsin Vision, Prevent Blindness and MTEA partnered to provide proper eye care to some of the city's neediest schools.  In some cases, vision problems are severe.

“Typically, we will find four or five per school where their vision is such that if they're old enough to drive, they wouldn't qualify for a drivers license,” Dave Burnett, Marketing Manager for Wisconsin Vision said.

Experts say 80% of learning is picked up visually, so early detection is key to healthy vision, which in turn, results in better performance at school.

“That's very discouraging for a child's self esteem if they feel like they can't get it.  Sometimes I think they don't realize the problem is that they can't see.  This is going to make a big difference for those kids as well,” Walker said.

Once the students are fitted for their glasses, they'll receive the frames in school next Tuesday.

Wisconsin Vision, Prevent Blindness and MTEA have been to four MPS schools over the last two years.  To date, they have provided free glasses to more than 300 students.